In my 13 years with Dave, I’ve met his maternal Grandma once. That was back in 2008.
I went on a trip with Dave and his parents to visit her just after Christmas. I left thinking she was just the sweetest, petite little thing.
She lived in Kingston, Ontario, which is about 8 hours northeast of Windsor, Ontario where he lived. She was even further once Dave moved to Michigan after we were married. Even further yet when we moved to South Carolina.
I’m really glad I made this picture, because it’s the only one we have of her.
Sometime ago, in the last 10 years, she went to an assisted living home. Sometime within the last few years, Dementia took her memory.
Dave’s mom phoned her mother every Sunday and drove to visit her once or twice a year, but Dave had no contact with his Grandma. I grew up knowing my Great-Grandma Jo Jo and all my grandparents really well, so the distance of their relationship was always foreign to me.
I’ve always asked him if he wanted the kids to meet her. I thought it would be beautiful for them to connect with that generation, even if only for a day, even if her memory wasn’t up to it. Even though they’ve never met, we’ve reminded the kids countless times that they have a living Great-Grandma.
Shortly after COVID sent the kids home from school in March, Levi went on a picture-making binge. He made pictures, I addressed the envelopes.
“Who’s this one for?” I asked.
“You know, our other Grandma.” He replied.
“Who? ….. Oh, daddy’s Grandma?”
My heart about melted that he thought of this woman he’d never met out of the blue like that. So then, I the idea to send her some photographs of the kids with Levi’s picture and invited Kendall to write to her (which she promptly wrote with a vibrant twinkle in her heart).
I assigned Dave the job of getting her address.
In the meantime, Levi’s picture and Kendall’s letter sat in the corner of our kitchen counter. That was back in March. It’s still there today.
On Friday, at 97 years young, she passed away.
That sweet mail was forgotten on our counter for so long that it became too late.
I’m sad that the *tiny* glimmer of generational connection is gone.
Mail the proverbial letter, friend. Make the phone call. Take the long way home to stop by their house. Send pictures. Invite them out for dinner and a show (if you can’t get to the theatre, get your own projector for movie night).
P.S. My parents are as high as the living generation line goes on my side of the family. Even if it’s a natural part of life, I’ve really not loved seeing the generational line grow shorter and shorter. So even if there wasn’t any contact, I’d found some comfort in knowing she was alive. Becoming the older generation is both a privilege and just weird, isn’t it?